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What can you cook in an air fryer?

What to cook in an air fryer 

Air fryers have become pretty popular over the last decade, advertised as an easy and healthy way to fulfill fried food cravings without deep frying anything. You've probably seen ads for them online or in cooking magazines. They allow you to "fry" your food with air, but what does that mean? And how much can you even cook with one?

Do you need an air fryer? Air fryers are easy to use and, depending on how you like your meals prepared, could help you shift towards a healthier lifestyle. Most importantly, they are incredibly versatile. There’s a wide range of uses for them, and you’ll be surprised what you can get away with air frying. 

How does an air fryer work?

Is your food actually fried? 

No. While the name suggests fried food, an air fryer is an appliance that uses hot air to cook food in an oven-like fashion while maintaining the crispy deep-fried feel and taste of foods made with oil a fryer. When you fry with oil, you fully submerge the food in 350-400 degree oil until golden brown. Air fryers offer a lower fat content alternative, providing similar taste and texture without being as hard on your arteries.

What does an air fryer do?

An air fryer still cooks food in a basket but pushes hot air down from the top and around all sides to cook the food and form those crispy edges you crave. These units use little to no oil, so food might not get as crisp as it would deep-fried. It's a solid alternative if you're looking to eat a little healthier and save on mess.

But what can you cook? 

While french fries and frozen veggies are certainly popular dishes associated with this type of product, there's a lot more you can try. 

Fruits and vegetables 

Air fryers are great for all kinds of vegetables, not just potatoes. Green beans, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, radishes, butternut squash, okra and eggplant all cook nicely in an air fryer. If you want a little extra crunch to your veggies, try lightly spraying the food with an oil of your choice before turning on the air fryer. 

Snacks and appetizers 

Want a quick snack? Chickpeas cook nicely in an air fryer. So do onions rings. French fries might be the go-to, but you can also consider potato chips, nachos, egg rolls, spring rolls, jalapeño poppers, bacon-wrapped avocado, taquitos and mozzarella sticks. If you like roasting pumpkin seeds, try making them in the air fryer instead. 

Main courses

Most air fryers aren't necessarily big enough to be cooking big party meals, but dinner for two is easily doable. Cut up some chicken if you’d like. Or cook wings, steak, lamb chops, burgers, pork chops, fish fillet, turkey breast or lobster tails. Cheesy dishes work best if the cheese is on the inside: think grilled cheese, ravioli or empanadas.  


It might seem like an air fryer isn't exactly dessert-friendly, but that’s not true — especially if you're willing to get creative. Instead of a whole pie, try mini handheld pies or donut holes. You can also make s'mores, cannoli shells, cookies, brownies, churros, fried Oreos, beignets and even bread pudding. 

Air fryer accessories

You need an air fryer to start cooking with one, but beyond that, there are add-ons and suggestions for making your use of it even easier. 

Ninja SP101 Foodi 8-in-1 Air Fryer Toaster Oven

If you don't yet have an air fryer and are looking to save on some counter space, this unit functions as an air fryer and a toaster oven. It can air fry, bake, broil, toast and dehydrate — offering plenty of functions without forcing you to keep multiple appliances in your kitchen. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Monyes 17-Piece Air Fryer Accessory Set

We recommend an accessory set with all the bells and whistles for cooking a wide range of dishes. This one comes with a toast rack, skewer rack, plate gripper, silicone muffin cups, oil brush, icing smoother, egg bite molds and more. It even includes a little recipe book to help you get ideas if you’re unsure where to start. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Ultrean 6-Piece Air Fryer Accessories Set

If you already have all the utensils you need but still want some extras for the air fryer, there's this six-piece rack and pan set for cooking skewers, muffins, cakes and more.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Bykitchen 8-inch Parchment Paper

Here you have 200 pieces of perforated grease-proof parchment paper for easier cleanup. Instead of scrubbing with dish soap, all you have to do is take the paper out and throw it away. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

WaveLu Air Fryer Silicone Pot

If you don't think a liner will cut it, try using a dishwasher-safe silicone bowl that can be lifted directly out of the fryer when your food is ready with less hassle. It adds to the lifespan of your air fryer and keeps it free from grime and grease.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Zophen Olive Oil Spray Bottle 

We recommend a small oil spray/mister for light-touch distribution to add just a little oil to your dish before cooking. The spray bottle is made of glass and stainless steel.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Lotteli Kitchen Air Fryer Magnetic Cheat Sheet

A time-saver for anyone who has trouble keeping track of different cooking times for different foods. This compact magnet tells you how long to cook different dishes in the fryer, based on size and temperature.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Emily Verona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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